You may have dry eye syndrome if you experience stinging in your eyes, a gritty sensation, or eye redness. Dry eye can be temporary or chronic, with people experiencing symptoms that can be mild or severe. Dry eye occurs when tear glands fail to produce enough tears or when the tears evaporate too fast. Various treatments can help reduce the symptoms.
There are different causes of dry eye. The most common ones include aging, underlying health conditions, medications, computer use, contact lens use, hormonal changes, and eye surgery. Others are low humidity, eye allergies, and blepharitis.
Dry eye can affect anyone, but it is more common among the elderly. Tear production decreases with age, and the condition tends to affect people over 50. Using artificial tears regularly often helps prevent dry eye by providing lubrication to the eyes.
Certain medications can reduce the production of mucus in the tears, contributing to dry eye. They include antidepressants, antihistamines, beta-blockers, and diuretics. If you experience dry eyes from your medication, talk to your doctor about alternative medications.
Prolonged computer use is a common cause of dry eye. Reduced blinking can affect tear function and increase evaporation. Blinking more frequently when using the computer can help reduce dryness. It also helps to take frequent breaks and use artificial tears.
Many people who have had laser eye surgery often develop dry eyes. During the procedure, some nerves in the cornea are cut, leading to the production of fewer tears. This form of dry eye is often temporary, resolving itself in a few days or weeks when the eyes heal. Using lubricating eye drops during this period can help.
Changes in hormones can cause dry eye. Many women experience dry eyes from using birth control, during pregnancy, and in menopause. Hormones help in the stimulation of tears, and any imbalance can reduce the production of tears. Hormone replacement therapy is ineffective for reducing dry eye, but your doctor can prescribe lubricating eye drops to treat the condition.
Vitamin A deficiency can cause dry eye. Consuming a diet rich in vitamin A can promote healthy eyes. Foods such as fish, eggs, carrots, spinach, peppers, and broccoli can help prevent eye issues, including dry eye. Your doctor can conduct a blood test to determine if you have a vitamin A deficiency.
There are health or medical conditions that can lead to the development of dry eye. People with Sjogren’s syndrome often have dry eyes. The autoimmune disorder is characterized by white blood cells attacking the tear glands, reducing the production of tears. Other health conditions that cause dry eye include diabetes, arthritis, and lupus.
It is possible to suddenly develop dry eye. Exposure to cold climates or high winds can cause tears to evaporate quickly. Visiting locations with extreme temperatures can affect your eye health.
Using lubricating eye drops when visiting these areas can help. You should also wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes. Low humidity, smoking, and dehydration also cause sudden dry eye. Understanding the underlying cause of dry eyes is vital for treating the condition.
For more on whether you can suddenly develop dry eye, visit Eyecare Galleria at our Brentwood, California office. Call (925) 240-8520 to schedule an appointment today.